Lisp project sites don't provide enough information - Lisp Propulsion Laboratory log

Lisp Propulsion Laboratory log

Paolo Amoroso's weblog. Main interests: Lisp, astronomy (Moon), space exploration (Apollo and early manned programs) Calendar of past entries | Related links xml

Lisp project sites don't provide enough information

Sunday, August 20, 2006

I hesitate to critique free resources, especially when the prolificity of their authors is in sharp contrast with my limited contributions. But since Gary King publicly acknowledges information problems about his own Lisp software, I will chime in with a constructive spirit[*].

I have been submitting entries to the Common Lisp Directory since early 2006. CLD is a database of Common Lisp software and other resources.

I try to include in CLD entries as much information as possible about projects. This is to help users understand what a particular software project does, which Lisp implementations it runs on, which libraries are required, where to get the code, and evaluate the resource to decide whether it fits his needs.

But I frequently run across projects that don't prominently--or at all--provide one or more of the following information, all of which is important:

I don't think that the missing information is due to lack of time. Rather, I think that authors take too much for granted, and have difficulties in getting in the shoes of users and understanding their needs.

Actually, the web sites of Gary King's many useful Lisp projects do provide this information. The only headaches I had, as mentioned in his blog entry, are with dependencies. His software heavily relies on libraries with complex dependencies, at times apparently circular. Now I understand why you often find "meta" in his project names :-)

You may note that the information I discussed matches the fields of CLD entries. Indeed, we spend some time with each project entry and dig its source code or web site so that you don't have to.

Finally, this is problem is common to all free software, but Lisp projects have specific informational needs.

[*] And asbestos underwear.

Copyright © 2006 by Paolo Amoroso

Created with BlogMax

August 2006
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31
Jul  Sep
About Lisp | Practical Common Lisp (learn Lisp) | Planet Lisp (blog agregator) | Common Lisp Directory (software and resources) | Why Lisp?